Sixty years after Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has apologised for the suffering caused by Japanese military aggression. His sentiments were echoed by Japanese Emperor Akihito – the son of wartime Emperor Hirohito – in a nationally-televised service.
He called for the tragedy of war never to be repeated. “With the whole nation, I express my sincere condolences to the people who died in the war,” said the Emperor. “I pray for world peace and further prosperity for Japan.” After US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was September 2 1945 when Japan finally signed the act of unconditional surrender. Six decades on, however, memories of the war that killed millions in Asia continue to complicate relations between Japan and its neighbours.